Grammar » B1+ Grammar lessons and exercises » Would rather, would prefer – expressing preference
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  • Would rather, would prefer – expressing preference

    Exercise 1

    Choose the correct option for each gap below.

    1I prefer brown sugar white sugar.

    2I don't want to go out. I'd rather home.

    3I like trekking in the mountains, but I prefer on a sandy beach.

    4I'd rather go in December in May.

    5I'd rather come with you here alone.

    6I prefer travelling by bus by train.

    7I usually have tea, but today I'd prefer coffee, please.

    8I'd prefer to read for a while TV.

    9I'd rather you here with me and the kids.

    10She to stay in a hotel.


  • Would rather, would prefer – Grammar chart

    would rather, would prefer – expressing preference

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    Would rather/would sooner

    Would rather/sooner + infinitive … (than)

    We use would rather/sooner + infinitive (without to) to talk about preference. We can use it with than (+noun/infinitive) in affirmative sentences or with or in questions.

    • I‘d rather/sooner have tea, please. 
    • I‘d rather/sooner have tea than drink that coffee. 
    • Would you rather/sooner have tea or coffee?

    Would rather/sooner + subject + past simple

    We can use would rather/sooner + subject + past simple to refer to the present or future.

    • We‘d rather/sooner she was/were with us now.*
    • She‘d rather/sooner I picked her up after lunch. 
    • Would you rather/sooner we went by bus or by train?

    Note that we can use were instead of was with I/he/she after would rather + subject.


    (Would) prefer + to + infinitive … (rather than/instead of)

    We use prefer/would prefer + noun or to + infinitive to talk about specific preference, i.e. what we prefer on a specific occasion.

    • I would prefer to stay in a hotel near the airport. (or I would rather stay…)
    • Most clients prefer to have breakfast in their bedroom. 

    We can use prefer/would prefer with rather than or instead of to show the choices we have.

    • I would prefer to be too early rather than be too late. 
    • prefer to go with dad instead of staying here with mum. 

    Note that we use rather than + infinitive without to

    Prefer + -ing verb

    We use prefer + noun or -ing verb to talk about general preference, i.e. what we prefer in general, on every occasion.

    • I love running, but he prefers cycling

    We can use prefer with to to show the choices we have. The word to is a preposition here, so if we use a verb after to, it should take the -ing form.

    • He prefers walking to cycling
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